Nancy Conybeare

Nancy Louise Conybeare (Rill)

Monday, October 2nd, 1939 - Saturday, February 20th, 2021
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Nancy Louise (Rill) Conybeare, born October 2, 1939 in Benton Harbor MI, peacefully passed away on February 20, 2021, after a long struggle with vascular dementia.

Nancy approached the last 6+ years with dignity and grace, just as she had during her 2 bouts with breast cancer.

Nancy is survived by her 5 children and their spouses, Bruce Conybeare, Jr. & Elizabeth Brien Conybeare of Ann Arbor, MI; Brian & Janna Conybeare of St. Joseph, MI; Barry & Jody Conybeare of St. Joseph, MI; Bethany Conybeare & Emery Mitchell of Mill Valley, CA and Brigid & Mark Britton of Seattle, WA; along with 19 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.

Nancy is also survived by her sister Marcia Kasischke of St. Joseph, MI and Marcia’s children, Kim, Karen & Kevin and their families; her children’s father, Bruce Conybeare Sr. of St. Joseph, MI and her sister-in-law Sherry Conybeare of St. Joseph, MI.

Nancy’s parents, Bill & Lillian Rill, her brother Bill Rill, and her in-laws, Robert (Chad) & Dorothy Conybeare, preceded her in death.

Nancy invested her heart and soul in raising her 5 children. She often said one of her goals was to have them grow up to love and support one another and have close sibling bonds. Thanks Mom, Mission Accomplished!

Nancy greeted people from all walks of life with a gracious smile and a kind word, consistent with her strong belief in The Golden Rule: “Treat others the way you would like to be treated.”

Nancy also shared her passion for reading, cooking & baking, entertaining, traveling, and playing Scrabble with her family and friends.

Nancy graduated from St. Joseph High School in 1957. She earned an Associate’s Degree in Art in 1959 from Benton Harbor Junior College, a predecessor of Lake Michigan College. She earned a Registered Nursing degree in 1978 from Lake Michigan College. She later earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Studies from Western Michigan University and pursued coursework toward a Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration.

Nancy served the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph communities through, among other endeavors, campaigning in the early 1970s for Charles Joseph, the first Black mayor of Benton Harbor; a rewarding career with Lakeland Hospital as an oncology nurse, an in-patient rehabilitation case manager, and Director of Quality Assurance; another rewarding career as Director of Development at Lake Michigan College, where she was honored in 2005 as both Outstanding Employee & Administrator of the Year and honored again in 2010 with the Alumni Service Award; and community-based leadership roles with The Rotary Club of Benton Harbor – Sunrise and the First Congregational Church, among others. She was also an avid gardener and long-time member of the Indian Hills Garden Club.

Nancy’s family will be forever grateful for the kind and compassionate care she received over the last few years from the wonderful caregivers at Lakeland Hanson Hospice and The Whitcomb.

A Celebration of Life will be planned for Summer 2021.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Nancy’s memory to the Race Relations Council of Southwest Michigan, Lakeland Hanson Hospice, Lake Michigan College, or an organization of your choice. Those wishing to leave an online condolence may do so at Arrangements have been entrusted to Starks & Menchinger Chapel & Cremation Services, 269-556-9450.
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Private Condolence

Elizabeth & Steve Upton

Posted at 08:47am
I have a deep respect for Nancy's love of her children, friends and community. Her medical education and compassion was significantly shared.

James Canonie

Posted at 02:21pm
Nancy Conybeare was a wonderful person to be around. She was always fun and positive and upbeat. She will be sorely missed by all of us who shared the privilege of knowing her. My sincere condolences go out to the entire Conybeare family. May she rest in peace .................. James Canonie

Vicki Matthews

Posted at 01:29pm
My first introduction to Nancy was as a teenager babysitting for the Conybeare children at their Lake Michigan home. I was struck by her beauty, grace and poise but most of all her beautiful clothes... something a young teenage girl would be impressed with!
Years later we connected again at LMC in the same nursing class, I still have our class picture. After graduating, a few of us studied together for our nursing boards, always at the busy Conybeare house. Once again I was impressed with her ability to maintain an intense fulltime school schedule and caring for her family, both done so well. I am keeping the Conybeare family in my thoughts and prayers always. Love, Vicki(Capizzo) Matthews

PJ Canonie-Bubin

Posted at 02:55pm
Dear Bruce Sr., Bruce Jr., Brian, Barry, Bethany, Brigid and, of course, your families. A whole community mourns with you...a diverse community at that. People from all walks of life remember Nancy with respect and a smile. I got to know you all when you kids were "kids." What a legacy she and you, Bruce Sr., leave behind in these loving and accomplished adults. Hers was a successful life which will live on in each of you and your children. God bless the whole gang! Love, PJ Canonie-Bubin

Barbara Craig

Posted at 02:51pm
Dear Conybeare family, All of us at the Lake Michigan College Foundation want you to know how dear your wonderful mother was to us. Our memories of a gracious, gentle, smart, strong, and caring colleague, supporter, and mentor will not soon be forgotten, and it is our hope that your many memories continue to keep you strong. On behalf of the LMC Foundation and the LMC Alumni Association, we send our deepest sympathy, prayers, and love at this very sad time.

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